Barkers of Northallerton, with its distinctive black and gold façade, is a familiar and fondly regarded face on the market town’s High Street. Tracing its origins back to 1882 when apprentice William Barker started out in a small Draper’s shop in the same town, generations later the company is still proudly family-owned and run.
Time has changed one thing; the scale of the Barkers empire. The famous store is now just one of three Northallerton sites proudly carrying the Barker’s brand, the others being ‘Barker’s Home’ in Yafforth Road and the Distribution Centre based in Standard Way Business Park.
As the central storage location for the top quality soft furnishings, upholstery and wood furniture that Barkers sell, it is vital that the distribution centre is an appropriate environment for keeping all materials in perfect condition. One of the most important factors is temperature. It became apparent that the centre’s existing heating system was not up to the task and that the lack of consistent warmth was jeopardising valuable stock.
Sean Spence, distribution centre manager for Barkers, explains:
“We keep lots of items here which can be severely damaged by inconsistent temperatures. As one example of how badly this can impact our stock, oak furniture is particularly popular with customers, but it is also sensitive to temperature changes, meaning it can easily warp and render an item unsaleable. With the old system being inefficient and unreliable it was often freezing here at the centre and we were trying electric heaters and similar quick fixes at doorways to maintain the temperature, but without much luck. Things had to change and we knew we had to upgrade.
“We started out with a completely open mind to the kind of system we would install, but electric seemed pricey and gas would have been hard to get started with because the centre is not on the mains, so there would have been a lot of heavy outdoor work to fix that. Biomass started to look like a good option and we were attracted by the low carbon emissions and environmentally friendly solution it offered.”
re:heat took up the challenge, and provided guidance and plans for the ideal design to keep the warehouse thoroughly heated at a stable temperature. For a brand with so much history the new heating system is a jump into the thoroughly modern. The 350kW wood pellet boiler is efficient and reliable and has proved its worth as colder temperatures have hit. We worked with local mechanical contractor and heating engineer, Gary Oliver, to deliver the project for Barkers.
“The job was carried out really efficiently and the boiler was installed quickly, which was great as the warehouse really needs to be maintained at a temperature of around 10 degrees. The new boiler is now operational and heating the centre, and is perfect for our needs. We’ve been kept informed, supported and guided on the correct use of the system by re:heat. It used to be freezing in here, now it’s the perfect temperature!”
Find out more about Barkers at Northallerton and what’s on offer at the different stores by visiting the website: www.barkers.co.uk.